I’d like to say it was my idea, but it wasn’t. My wife is the gifted and nostalgic one in the family. For years, at Christmas time, my family would affectionately refer to me as “the Grinch”. My wife, on the other hand, understood the power of a Christmas tradition and, over the years, we have adopted many meaningful traditions.
One of my favorite traditions is that, for many years, the day after Thanksgiving we always went out as a family to pick out our Christmas tree and to allow the kids to pick out their own Christmas ornament—generally one of the Hallmark “Keepsake” ornaments. Then, we would all decorate the tree to the tune of Bing Crosby and the taste of hot cocoa—each person trying to find that perfect branch in which to hang their newly found treasure.
Over the years, the kids’ taste in ornaments changed. With two girls and two boys, we went through seasons of ballerinas, soccer balls, puppy dogs, Star Wars creatures, and Lord of the Rings warriors. Naturally, I would always get the Grinch ornament—whether I deserved it or not and whether I liked it or not.
We have now entered into a different season in our lives. Three out of four of our children are married. They have now taken possession of the box of ornaments that they have amassed over the years to begin their own Christmas traditions with their own families. I have to say that my eyes moisten at the thought that our children aren’t “kids” anymore and we will never again hop in the van the day after Thanksgiving to pick out our ornaments. However, I also smile when I remember that each ornament is like a doorway to a memory of sights and sounds that will not quickly tarnish or fade away.
And, who knows? Maybe our children will one day carry on a similar tradition when grandchildren arrive. Until then, I’ll bask in the warmth of those many wonderful Christmas memories over the years. I now understand the power of Christmas tradition. I guess you could say my heart has grown several sizes over the years. Such is the way of Grinches.